a newer world, abolish advertising, Alfred Lord Tennyson, American greed, army loyal to who?, Baby it’s cold inside too, ban everything someone hates, banning pop songs, Canadian government, censorship for feminists, climate change, cost of living, cut out middle-man, end bureaucracy, end inherited wealth, end red tape, epater les bourgeoisie, extermination of homo sapiens, feminist nonsense, flat tax at ten percent, food riots, global warming, how to overthrow a state, Indigenous land rights, inflation is a tax, Karl Marx, late-phase capitalism, money v morality, Paris riots, police as paramilitary, police will not kill fellow citizens, revolution, Saudi Arabia, system is broken, the French Revolution II, those who produce only money, time to act, tipping point, Ulysses, useless jobs, vanishing liberty, Wahhabist heresy
Old patient communists in Paris are wondering if their time has finally come, Not since 1968 has there been so much fierce resistance to a system known as status quo. And this is not a trivial issue of girls being allowed to sleeo with boys – the spark igniting ’68. This is fundamental, a 21st century bread riot about the unaffordable cost of living. Perhaps the dismay over what little has been done about climate change is in there too? But this wave will spread, is already spreading, breaking on other shores with similar concerns as well as ones of their own. It will soon be here, if Carnarcosis wakes up to smell the price of coffee. Cheerfully, so it seemed, we heard today that food prices will rise dramatically next year. Perhaps to head off vegans who imagine it won’t affect them, an emphasis was placed on steep rises in the cost of fruits and vegetables. On a news broadcast that included the blunt message from environment ministers meeting in Poland that we are headed for extinction if we don’t act now. Not assemble committees and commission reports, but ACT, something politicians are usually unable to do because most are lawyers and the law moves so slowly it’s still in the 18th century. We are the first generation to know in detail the science behind climate change, and we’re also the last generation who may – may – be able to act before the planet becomes too inhospitable for any effective actions to be plausible. In fact it is probably already too late, so is this all just gallows humour?
Unable to broadcast a constant battle-cry for environmental action, so we don’t rubbish the planet and ourselves with it, the CBC, and other court jesters, did manage to ban from the airwaves a perennially popular song from 1944, “Baby, it’s cold outside”. Kudos, bold move! But really? I must have heard that song a few hundred times, and not once did it ever occur to me the lyrics were offensive, a brazen attempt at seduction precluding the female’s rights in such a situation. It didn’t occur to me probably because the lyrics are not in the least offensive. It’s cold outside, baby, stay here where it’s warm. Offensive? Manipulative? Nah, it’s just a lovingly cute conceit in a wintry song that evokes the things that enduringly please us this time of year. “It may have been acceptable back in the forties,’ said some kultural obersturmbanfuhrer, “but it has no place in today’s world.” I think this about a lot of music I hear these days, but I wouldn’t dream of telling everyone their songs are now banned, principally because I don’t like them. Such a problem has a remedy so simple anyone can use it: If you don’t like a song or a book or a film, don’t listen to it, read it or watch it. Who is this solution not good enough for? Ah, you. Well, ma’am, I’m afraid you are a tyrant in cheap clothing, beneath which are a thunderflash and jackboots. We cannot beam you back to the Third Reich, alas – no time machine – but might we suggest an acceptable alternative? It’s Saudi Arabia, where your problems are solved before they arise: all music is banned, along with singing and dancing. A few other things too, but you’ll discover those for yourself, as well as encountering a tremendous need there for more feminist thinking. Perfect? We have a flight this Friday, may I book you on it?
Does whoever in the CBC responsible for this joke think such bans should be extended to all the arts, ancient and modern, if they contain anything someone, or even just you, are offended by? Where to begin? Well, the Bible is a good start, many rapes, sexual chauvinism on a monumental scale, and gender inequality almost worse than Saudi Arabia. I could proceed on through the canon, then the oriental canon (oh, how that Li Po objectifies women!), and African ones, (Wole Soyinka’s male characters drink too much and treat women like chattels) but I think the point is made. We shall be left with nothing if the power to censor is handed to some humourless automaton, in state broadcasting or anywhere else. In fact I am an owner of the CBC, one of 30 million, and I object to censorship in any form being perpetrated by my public broadcaster. Today it’s a harmless pop song, tomorrow it’s Finnegans’ Wake or Lolita. Grow up, ladies, and lighten up too. You don’t want history to remember you as the one who banned “White Christmas” for its overtly racist lyrics – or do you?
A great deal of trivial nonsense flew around just before the French Revolution, possibly to divert attention away from the appalling enormities of a status quo, a 5 percent, who treated the other 95 worse than beasts of the field, squeezing them until many died of want, if despair didn’t get there first. This announced steep rise in prices begs the question: Why? We surely all know by now that Marx was ostensibly right about capitalism’s proclivity to devour itself, or like Saturn its children. Market volatility is a sign, but a volatile bond market is an veritable omen. That market is supposed to be so stable it’s boring, because it was always so safe, the yield-curves pleasingly stable and always heading in the right direction but slowly. Now yield curves are all over the place and prices are up and down like the Assyrian empire. This reflects a general governmental instability, because bonds are mostly government debt. Politicians are obviously on their way out of the rulership game, and no one trusts them because they’re all such untrustworthy liars, lining pockets while doing nothing for the public whose arse they once plated for a vote. In a sunnier age this could be overlooked, but not anymore. When life becomes less affordable we, the people will take a look behind the scenes. What will we find?
We will find that between farm or grower and buyer or customer there are layers of middle men and women who produce nothing except money. Every activity creates businesses within it, some of them vital, some not so much. And commerce itself has some gigantic enterprises within it that need to be examined. Take advertising and marketing. These two swallow up a goodly portion of any company’s profits, and they do the rest of us no good at all. One might say they even harm us by interrupting shows or films with moronic exhortations comprised mostly of shameless lies. Who needs this so-called “information of choice” that is the ad man’s clarion call raison d’etre? Not I. On the rare occasions I need anything new, I ask someone to go online and see what the consensus says about this or that product. I can honestly say that no ad has ever influenced me to buy anything at all ever. I don’t have TV in fact because the stultifying ads revolt me. I watch, or really just listen to Netflix because there are no ads. If this changed I would cancel my subscription. Film is or can be a serious art form, in fact it’s the dominant form of our age, and to watch a Bertolucci, an Orson Welles, a Scorsese, or a Bergman and have it interrupted by some inane jingle boosting unneeded rubbish is to me like someone gluing a puerile imogee over Picasso’s Desmoiselles d’Avignon, or spraying commercial graffiti on Michaelangelo’s David. Beside those working in it, is there anyone to defend the continued existence of advertising and marketing? No? Away with them then, which is bound to bring prices down.
Next we’ll be looking into other areas that suck up money the way an anteater inhales ants. Bureaucracy and the red tape preventing ordinary men and women from opening snall businesses – that will go. We’ll tolerate the consequences of less health regulations and the number of toilets the way we’ve tolerated mindless regulations for years. As capitalism staggers and heads for a terminal collapse, our elites will panic. I mean the one percent who have more than the rest of us combined. These are the people for who the police act as a private army (have you noticed how paramilitary the cops have become?). We shall see what happens in Paris when the police, who after all suffer too in a bad economy, refuse to fire on their fellow citizens, and even go over to their side, as happened in 1789. For a revolution, this is the axial moment. Once police or army, ort both are with you it’s all over. You seize the media broadcasters, or their towers of insolence, and you sit your new leader in a studio: Newsflash! The government has fallen and the Popular Front for Canadian Liberation is now in charge. There is no reason to panic. The police and army will protect us all. But things will change here. And things will have to change. Real liberty must be returned to us all, and those who impoverish us by their unconscionable profits or obscene severance packages must realise it’s all over now, that scam. Tax at a flat 10 percent for all, no exceptions, only necessities written off, all hidden assets confiscated. No more inherited wealth, leave them a house, it’s more than enough, and take pride in the amount you left for your nation. Narrow the gap between haves and have-nots, or else the have-nots will do it themselves. Now we turn to the banks, far trickier than anyone else, but essentially working an astounding angle for the last century. They take your money and loan it to someone else at a percentage of interest you cannot get for yourself, and then they actually CHARGE you for whatever you do with your own money. Amazing racket, no? And now they have encouraged everyone to borrow as much as possible, and spend, spend, spend, whether you need what you buy or not. Interest rates have been very low for very long (I don’t mean the credit card shy operators, who sometimes dare say 28 percent is low interest for them, which is true, and which will also shut their racket down). What we want is a currency actually worth its face value, thus backed, as it used to be, by gold or platinum. It’s important to remember that inflation is actually another tax, and in a tax-ridden nation we do not want another tax, do we? Income federal and provincial, GST whenever you buy or sell anything, vehicle taxation, property taxes, school taxes (if you have kids or not), and a thousand other insidious and invidious ways of taxing us that bring the overall tax rate here up to well over 80 percent. Anything over 10 percent I say is extortionate and antisocial. The free health care where I live is lousy, incompetent and sometimes even dodgy. We shall pay for it through a non-profit state insurance plan. We can now afford it and the system will be better or else forced to get better. Rid of all those who sit in between taking their cut like medieval barons, the economy will thrive like never before, no one in the middle to ad costs by producing nothing but their own wealth. This attitude will prevail in every aspect of commercial life. And it will need to.
Desperation will drive this or any country to revolt, and the desperation on its way to us now is a planetary catastrophe unequalled in human history. Survival will be everyone’s main concern, and pure survival brings out the ruthlessness in anyone. Those who cling to old ways and continue forms of theft will be dealt with harshly. It’s unfortunate, but then so is greed and starvation. Reps from the 20 most prosperous nations on earth have now told us the tipping point has passed. We and everything that calls this world home face appalling upheavals, cataclysmic weather and seismic events, and very probably an extinction of species not unprecedented but certainly never seen by human eyes, and one of those species will be our own. The long, long struggles of history, the glorious achievements in art and science, all of it for nothing, lost forever in time. It is indeed unthinkable, but just because we cannot think about it does not mean it cannot happen, because, my friends, it is happening already, and the top climate scientists – women and men who have warned us for years this was going on – aren’t exactly saying we told you so now, but they are pointing out that for all the decades they were ignored by governments their predictions gradually all came true, due to the stupendous inaction of those in positions of responsibility. Now they are saying that their new predictions cannot be averted so easily if at all, because, as was said half a century ago, beyond a certain point there is no possibility of reversing the damage done. Greenhouse gases, human activity, corporate farming techniques, a psychopathic need to burn fossil fuels, and most of all the kind of insane greed that denies the evidence of science for profits, these are among the causes for ecological worry cited over my entire lifetime yet not acted upon. Why? Because, yet again, all governments are controlled by big businesses who have no desire to see a bottom line disfigured by expensive changes to processes or machines merely to save the earth. Business thinks only of the next quarter’s report. Shareholders want to see better dividends, not a falling share price due to environmental restrictions. This ballooning disaster cannot continue, and public rage will be at such a pitch by then that those who placed their wealth above the welfare of all life on earth will be viewed as common criminals and sociopaths. True, it is a good way to build a business, but it is not good for an economy in the long term, and, as we can see, it isn’t good for anything else on the planet either.
Perhaps we shall go cap in hand to the Indigenous and ask them to show us a better way. After all, they were here for millennia and did no harm at all. Possibly we should return all the land boosted from them out of sheer guilt? Nonetheless, they know how to survive and be self-sufficient. Few of us know such things, and we shall need to learn very quickly.
One feels sorrow and shame for Americans, the only one out of 20 prosperous nations to refuse any action on global warming, with a president who might not understand a scientific paper but knows someone who could explain it to him, still announcing that he doesn’t believe in climate change. Science requires no belief. It is not like politics or politicians. Empirical fact is the essence of science, meaning facts that cannot be fake news because they’re verifiable by anyone. Trump’s followers may get no news except his news and whatever they call the stuff broadcast by Fox, but Trump himself has all news sources available to him. This makes his denial of the inconvenient truth an act of conscious evil – evil being defined as doing harm you are conscious of being harmful as you do it – and such acts are capital crimes when they involve, as this will and already has done, the lives of millions. Motive for evil deed? Profits for friends, family and self. No judge will be remotely lenient, especially if the country is bankrupted by the cost of global warming’s destructive effects, as will be the case. The US dollar will cease being a global currency, its value possibly wiped out overnight, as a debt so vast no one can even tell you exactly how much it is becomes due and there’s nothing to pay with. Creditors will seize assets, at cents on a dollar, so much of the country will be owned by the Chinese or the Russians and others. Not that America was ever great, but the risible slogan will come to seem cruelly ironic when China looks for cheap labour in Wisconsin or Ohio. Trump will forever remain as a cautionary tale, a symbol of what happens when morality caves in to money, and the public is deliberately deceived into electing someone who no one wants to do business with after doing business with him. He is a man too who represents all those whose wealth was obtained crookedly, by not paying contractors, lying to partners, as well as to everyone else including himself, and thinking of a deal only interms of how much he can squeeze out of it. That is a protection racket not a deal. For such a baggy ego this will be a dingy end indeed, yet I doubt if a single soul will feel pity for the Man Who Tried To Sell The World As It’s Warranty Expired. It is the grimmest time I can ever recall, and my heart goes out to those decent simple islanders in the South Pacific whose culture of millennia is inextricable from their island home, a paradise that will have vanished entirely under the sea within five years. Where will 300,000 people go to continue with their lives? What happens to their culture when their world has vanished? Perhaps our Indigenous brothers and sisters can answer this, along with all the other questions we shall have for them. Maybe the National Chief – is it Perry Belgard? – should be asked to head up a provisional government, at least while we all work out the essentials for a better world.
Your food prices rise next year, withhold taxes and demand to see the books explaining why the prices rose. Demand an accounting for every penny a politician spends. Every project suddenly costs $500 million – bridge repairs, scheme to help someone, aid to African country, whatever it is – but when I want to build something and the estimate is $500 I question it, ask for a breakdown, check it all thoroughly. But the government just writes another check. Five years later we hear of massive corruption, bid fixing, kickbacks. Does our money ever come back to us? No, the system is broken, broken deliberately to allow what you have to leak out through the cracks into someone else’s pockets. It is time to make it new again. On that note I shall leave you with the end of Tennyson’s “Ulysses”.
Come, my friends,
‘T is not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.